MCLE SELF-STUDY ARTICLE: Demystifying Marriage of Bonvino: What it Holds and What it Means
Dawn Gray has practiced family law for over 32 years. Since 1994, her practice has been dedicated to research and writing projects for family law and civil attorneys. She works with many family law attorneys throughout the state on their cases, doing research, drafting pleadings and appellate briefs. She is a past president of ACFLS and is currently on its Amicus committee, as well as a member of FLEXCOM. She gives frequent presentations and continuing education classes on family law issues. With Steve Wagner, Ms. Gray is also the author of the 10-volume series "Complex Issues in California Family Law." She is a frequent contributor to family law publications throughout the state and a member of the editorial board of the California Family Law Monthly.
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On November 20, 2015, the Second District issued Marriage of Bonvino, 241 Cal. App. 4th 1411 (2015). In a partially published opinion, the panel reversed the judgment of the Los Angeles County trial court. The decision has generated a lot of controversy as to whether it was correctly decided and what it means. It is also a fairly confusing opinion, weaving together threads of various presumptions, statutes and lines of cases in a way that is not extremely straightforward. In order to understand its holding, it is necessary to pull these various threads apart, see where they came from, and how they interacted to produce the Bonvino result. In this article, I will attempt to do just that.